Can you give honey to babies, toddlers? What are honey health benefits for children?
Honey is a nutritionally packed gift from nature. Studies have shown that honey has great nutrient value and is healthy for most of us. It is a natural sweetener packed with minerals, enzymes, and vitamins.
There are lots of kinds of honey, and they have different uses. It can be used for cooking, baking, a substitute to sugar, even for treating wounds! Just be mindful because there are also fake honey, usually those created by sugar corn syrup to pass off as more expensive specialty honey.
Is it safe to give honey to children?
However, even though honey has so many great benefits for our health, did you know that is it not safe for babies under one year old to consume it?
When to give honey to babies and toddlers?
Most parents are concerned whether honey is something that will benefit children and whether regular table honey is safe or healthy for them, with all the attention on the harms of sugar even in fruit juices.
Though honey has many great benefits for our child’s health, it is not safe for babies 12 months below.
Pediatrician recommends giving honey to children one-year-old and above as babies can develop botulism due to the spores of bacteria it has. Babies’ digestive and immune system does not fully mature, yet so they are at high risk at this illness.
For children above one year old, yes, all sort of honey is safe for them. Read this article on how much health benefits honey can be for kids.
What types of honey is safe for baby and toddler?
There are lots of kinds of honey, such as raw honey, which is not pasteurized or processed. It freshly came from the honeycomb, poured into the jar, and put to sale. On the other hand, there’s also organic honey which is harvested from bee farms and can be pasteurized but does not treat with pesticide, dyes, solvents, or whatever.
There’s also manuka honey which is a honey made from the Manuka tree. It is known to contain a higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO), which is a natural antibacterial compound.
These types of honey mentioned are all safe for toddlers, make sure that you are giving it in moderation. Because no matter how healthy for children honey is, it still contains sugar which is not fit for children if given too much.
Honey Benefits For Children
1. Honey as a natural and healthy sweetener and energy booster.
Children love sweets, but too much sugar could lead to trigger swings in mood and energy levels. Good thing honey can be used as a substitute for sugar, and it is much healthier than processed white sugar that is present in nearly all packaged foods. It is not just a sweetener; it contains vital minerals and enzymes, so your children are not eating empty calories like sugar. One tablespoon of honey includes an estimated amount of 64 calories and provides 17g of carbohydrates, consisting of sucrose, glucose, maltose, and galactose, which helps fuel for your kids to stay energetic all day.
Honey has many healthy nutrients and contains 11mg potassium, 1mg calcium, 1mg phosphorus, minerals, iron, zinc, manganese, fluoride, and selenium. Honey also provides 1mg of vitamin C and B, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamin B6 as reported by the US Department of Agriculture Nutrient.
2. Honey to soothe a sore throat and as a cold remedy
Honey contains anti-bacterial properties that help relieve pain and inflammation, which is why it is a natural remedy for cold symptoms and helps to soothe a sore throat. It also helps fight viral infection and can kill bacteria in our bodies.
To prepare honey as a home remedy you can give this honey home remedy:
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ¼ spoon cinnamon powder
Mix them in a cup of warm water and let your child drink twice a day daily until the symptoms vanish. It is better to give it during bedtime to give your child a good night sleep.
3. Honey to relieve coughing
One study found that honey worked better than two common cough medications and improved sleep. You may prefer to give your kids honey because cough medication contains dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine, which causes side effects to our children. Just have your kid have a nice warm cup of honey drink, or do the one tablespoon of honey and ¼ spoon cinnamon powder mixture.
4. Honey to strengthen the immune system
The anti-bacterial properties in honey can be used to stimulate the production of immune cells, and are used to fight against germ and bacteria attack, as mentioned before. Honey also helps increase your child’s metabolism. Just give your child one spoon of honey every day before they start the day!
Just give your child one spoon of honey every day before they start the day!
5. Honey as an ointment
Honey contains an antimicrobial agent that has been used in treating wounds for thousands of years. So if you ever find your kids with a slight burn or wounds, you could use high-grade pure honey to heal it.
Just make sure to wash the wound first with water and put on a small drop of honey on the affected area. However, we will not recommend if you are unsure of the quality of your honey as not all supermarket brands are high-quality honey. Hospitals that use honey as the treatment usually uses medical-grade honey to heal because it is proven that honey helps in healing. For burns or wounds that not slight, please do visit a doctor for consultation.
For burns or wounds that not slight, please do visit a doctor for consultation.
6. Honey for Digestion
Honey has anti-bacterial properties that are effective to kill bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), even salmonella. Honey can regularize bowel movement and provides relief during stomach infections.
To give it your child, you can prepare a cup of black tea and mixed it with one teaspoon of honey twice daily. For young children, you may use warm water instead of tea.
Manuka Honey for Kids
This type of honey is so powerful in terms of medical use. Bees make this honey from the nectars of flowers of the Manuka tree, commonly found in New Zealand and some parts of Australia.
This honey contains higher properties of antimicrobial, which effectively kill bacteria, yeast, and fungi. It is also useful in relieving digestive issues. This is the most recommended honey for kids since they are prone to wounds due to play. Manuka honey is also one of the ingredients of MediHoney, a medicinal product used for treating surgical wounds.
How much honey can your kids eat in a day?
Sugar intake should not constitute more than 10% of dietary energy. This is the daily recommended sugar limit by age group from Health Promotion Board. As a precaution, we are substituting honey for sugar, because honey is a lot healthier.
- Below 12 months: Do NOT give honey in this age group.
- 1 to 2 years: 7 tsp (35g) sugar – that is approximately two teaspoons (34g) of honey.
- 3 to 6 years: 9 tsp (45g) sugar – approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons (42.5g) of honey.
- >6 years: 11 tsp (55g) sugar – approximately three teaspoons (51g) of honey.
Tips for using honey
Honey-sweet taste is usually loved by everyone. Instead of soda, or sweetened food, we can use honey to mix in their water to satisfy their cravings. You can also use honey in your cookies, pastries, or home dishes as a substitute for sugar.
Remember to store the honey in a closed and a cool place and your honey will have a long shelf life!
Notes on honey allergy or Pollen allergy
Before you decide to introduce this great food called honey, make sure you check your child for honey or pollen allergy. Look out for any sign of discomfort or stomach disorder. You might want to visit your child’s pediatrician to check whether they are allergic or not.
What are the health benefits of honey for children and adult?
Do note that the health benefits of honey for children applies to us adults too! We adults will need the minerals, enzymes, vitamins found in honey as much as kids.
When we are sick with a cough, cold, sore throat etc, the honey drink or tablespoon of honey we give to our kids works wonder on us too.
Honey can be consumed raw or cooked, mixed in your drinks or food. Not only that, honey can be used to substitute white sugar, giving you a better and healthier choice. However, honey is still sugar and has calorie and should be consumed in moderation.
So, is honey safe for your children? Should you start giving it to them? To sum it up, honey has many great benefits for your children and is it safe, if you give it in moderation. Always remember to give your child honey as needed, not over the sugar daily intake recommendation. Look for signs of allergy or discomfort after they consume honey. If your child suffers from some medical conditions, talk to their doctor or health specialist for more information.